Location: New York, NY or Washington, DC
About Dēmos. Founded in 2000, Demos is a public policy organization working for a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity, our work is organized around a particular point of view about power and about what is required to create a society where Black and Brown communities are fully thriving. Demos moves ideas powerful enough to improve the lives of everyday Americans through the full cycle of change. We champion over-the-horizon policy solutions, shift the narrative to clear the way for their acceptance, and are committed to a model of sustained advocacy until they take effect. We use the right strategy for the right moment, whether it’s research, communications, supporting organizers, or litigation. This commitment to the full cycle of change has resulted in real victories, from landmark credit card reforms to over 3 million new voter registration applications from low-income citizens. Throughout all of our work, Demos is advocating not just for people, but for the very idea of the people—of one nation, united by a shared fate. The organization is headquartered in New York City and has an office in Washington, D.C.
Demos seeks a Senior Counsel to join its high impact legal team. We are looking for a seasoned legal advocate, who brings strong racial equity analysis and legal experience to Demos’ democracy reform work. Some examples of compelling prior experience would include working on issues such as voting rights, money in politics, redistricting and reapportionment that ensure fair and equitable access to all communities, seeking to exercise the full rights and benefits that are cornerstones of citizenship in a democracy. Demos’ dynamic model leverages a broad arsenal of tools that include innovative policy solutions and legal strategies to achieve structural reforms that builds political and movement power with Black and Brown communities. The Senior Counsel works closely with, and reports to, the Director of Legal Strategies and will be a key partner to the organization’s Democracy issue experts, as well as movement partners and co-counsel. Finally, the Senior Counsel will directly manage 1-2 members of the Legal Team.
The Senior Counsel will bring strong foundational knowledge of the progressive movement and policy landscape, and understand the utility of policy, advocacy, and litigation in driving towards Demo’s desired impact. The successful candidate will bring strong functional expertise in democracy reform work and be a thought leader providing advice and counsel to the legal team and broader organization as well as Demos’ community of practice, including Democracy issue experts, thought leaders in the sector and partner organizations. The Senior Counsel will work closely as a member of the senior legal team in developing and implementing litigation strategy, supporting the development of legal staff, and leveraging their deep knowledge and expertise in service of protecting and supporting the communities that Demos serves.
This is a full-time position, ideally located near either Demos’ Washington, D.C. or New York office. Remote work will be considered for exceptionally strong candidates. Current plans are for Demos staff to continue working remotely until December 2021, with a likely hybrid return to work in-office schedule, in accordance with national, and organization COVID-19 safety regulations.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Managing all stages of the litigation life cycle in pursuit of Demos’ goals, including investigation and case development, discovery, motions practice, hearings, trials, appeals, and settlement negotiations.
- Support the Director and Senior leadership team in identifying and reviewing potential litigation opportunities, including current civil rights/constitutional issues, interviewing prospective clients, investigating potential legal claims, drafting and sending written correspondence, and conducting general legal research and analysis.
- Building coalitions with organizations and advocates at the local, state, and national levels, and with social scientists, attorneys at partner organizations and others.
- Devising policy solutions that are appropriate for the evolving legal landscape, crafting and delivering legislative testimony, and helping to craft language for legislation and ballot initiatives in support of Demos policy and advocacy goals.
- Drafting communications for diverse audiences and translating complex legal issues in relatable and accessible terms.
- Bringing a racial equity lens and analysis of structural racism to all of Demos’ legal strategies work and initiatives; centering race and conducting racial equity interventions with partners, coalitions, campaigns, and within the organization.
- Hold shared responsibility for overall effectiveness and mentorship of direct reports and junior staff on Legal Strategies team, including overseeing teamwork plans, systems and processes that drive toward organizational goals; maximizing impact and growing team member skills; directly supervising members of the team.
- Engaging in public education and communications, which may include policy briefs, blog posts, op-eds, conferences, and media interviews.
- Serving on Demos’ issue-specific teams to help plan, coordinate, and execute project deliverables such as policy development, research reports, legal advocacy, and litigation strategies.
- Other duties as assigned by Director, Legal Strategies.
The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience:
- Demonstrated high impact legal experience, including legal policy writing, litigation, and other legal aptitudes. You have at least 5-7 years of legal experience, bringing deep expertise and a demonstrated track record of results in core areas of focus for Demos. You are adept at managing people and processes and driving complex legal policy initiatives and litigation to resolution. You bring superior legal writing and research skills, achievement of high standards in quality of legal work, skill in developing and implementing new strategic litigation, and increasing responsibility in scale and scope over the course of legal career. Active membership in one or more state bars is required.
- Experience with Core Demos Issues. You have expertise or experience within Demos’ core issue areas, particularly Democracy reform, which includes voting rights, reducing the role of money in politics, and shifting power of federal and state courts from engines of oppression to engines for justice and equity for Black and brown communities.
- Ability to Lead Efforts to Advance Racial Equity. You are committed to leading on racial equity with Demos and our external partnerships, with a sophisticated understanding of how structural racism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness influence supervisory relationships, organizational culture, partnerships, campaigns and coalition work; understanding of how systemic racism affects present-day systems and ability to advance racial equity goals through legal strategies; demonstrated history of successfully intervening in problematic dynamics and deepening a racial justice approach within an organization, team, partnership, or campaign; and commitment to Demos’ culture of respect, shared responsibility, and consistent feedback. You understand that this work is both personal and communal and are committed to continuing to evolve and refine your own racial lens.
- Ability to Lead and Manage a Team. You are a natural leader, who enjoys leading a team, managing tough situations to resolution, and building structures that facilitate feedback and communication. You create conditions and team dynamics that encourage connection, innovation, collaboration and drives team investment on team and organizational goals. You are comfortable being both manager and coach, creating optimal conditions for legal staff to bring their collective brilliance to the pressing issues that Demos’ is focused on. A sense of humor is a plus.
- Strong Relationship Builder. You are adept at building and maintaining strong relationships both within and outside of the organization. You are comfortable working across lines of difference including race, gender, and class among other dimensions of identity and you are effective at surfacing shared values of individuals, groups and communities and leveraging that understanding to forge (where possible) investment and consensus. You can build trust and credibility with people from varied backgrounds that allows you to build productive relationships and partnerships.
- Excellent Strategic Thinker and Movement Orientation. You have successful experience in the legal strategies field, either at a think tank, advocacy organization, or political campaign and are very familiar with the progressive field. You use an integrated advocacy approach to move progressive reforms forward—meaning the strategic use of litigation, research, policy development, campaigns, and/or communications to bring about lasting change. You work effectively with grassroots partners and advocates at the state and national level; you understand the importance of, and have experience with, building respectful relationships with other progressive organizations, advocates, and leaders in one or more areas of Demos’ work.
The most competitive candidates will also demonstrate one or more of the following skills, experiences, or perspectives:
- Strong Existing Network. You are known and respected in the progressive movement and legal field, bringing existing relationships that will facilitate expansion of our work.
- Ability to Write Effectively for Broad Audiences. You have experience writing effectively for broad audiences through blogging, op-eds, reports, briefing papers, or other similar outlets.
- Public Presentation. You are a skilled public speaker who is experienced with presenting to groups and at conferences, and comfortable with engaging in media interviews or appearances on our issues.
Candidates need to bring a strong commitment to excellence and an ability to work in a fast-paced environment. The position is full-time.
Salary and Benefits: The salary range for this position starts at $85,000-$100,000 and is negotiable depending on experience. We have a generous benefits package which includes health insurance, dental and vision insurance, 10 paid holidays, 18 vacation days per year, 5 floating holidays per year, paid time off Dec. 25- Jan. 1, 12 sick days per year, and a voluntary 403b plan.